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Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Waikiki Homeless Outreach Begins Nov 3
By News Release @ 8:53 PM :: 5690 Views :: Homelessness, Tourism


Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association Donates $100,000 to Support Program Launch

News Release from HLTA

HONOLULU – Starting Monday, November 3, the Institute for Human Services (IHS), with support from the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA), will launch a full-time outreach program dedicated to resolving homelessness in Waikiki.

The program will feature IHS’s most experienced outreach staff serving the Waikiki community on a daily basis. They will engage homeless people, assess their situation, and provide the solutions needed to move them into shelters or homes, find employment, receive medical care, and reconnect with loved ones.

HLTA is donating $100,000 to IHS to support the start of the Waikiki outreach program, and has already pledged to donate another $100,000 to IHS in 2015.

George Szigeti, HLTA President and CEO, said, “When IHS came to us with a proposed plan of action for Waikiki’s homeless situation, we were thrilled and immediately pledged our support. We will soon begin to see the results we all want from having a dedicated IHS outreach team on the ground in Waikiki. Homeless people will get the help they need and those who live, work, and visit our Waikiki community will appreciate how this problem can be effectively addressed.”

Connie Mitchell, IHS Executive Director, said, “HLTA’s donation is a wonderful vote of confidence and this partnership marks the beginning of an effective homeless assistance program in Waikiki. For 36 years we’ve viewed the community as a whole as our customer and today we are responding to a specific plea for help from our Waikiki community. We will offer solutions that are adaptable, creative, innovative, and tailored to address the needs of this situation.”

Mitchell added that the target goal of IHS’s Waikiki outreach program in its first year is to serve 300 homeless people. Of that total, 140 individuals are targeted to move into IHS shelters or homes and an additional 120 transient individuals will be returned to their homes outside Hawaii through relocation assistance, with IHS and the person being assisted sharing the cost of the airfare.

“A lot of hurting people will receive the care and support they need to get their lives back together, and our Waikiki community will see a reduction in the kind of visible homelessness that has become such a concern for our residents and visitors,” said Mitchell.

IHS’s homeless outreach program for Waikiki is based on some key core principals that it employed recently with success on the North Shore and in Wahiawa. Over the past two years, IHS outreach case managers served 251 homeless individuals in these communities and were able to move 121 of them into shelters or homes.

IHS’s success with its North Shore program was built on a foundation of:

  • Knowledgeable assessment upfront.
  • Meeting individualized needs.
  • Easy access to services by establishing a faithful presence in the area.
  • Partnerships with the community.

IHS’s annual budget to operate the Waikiki outreach program is $1.3 million. Of the total budget, 62% is being covered by IHS, which has committed $824,000 of its existing funds to provide housing, employment and services for Waikiki’s homeless. The remaining 38%, or approximately $500,000 (which includes HLTA’s $100,000 donation), needed to support the program will be raised by IHS through donations from the private sector and other sources.

Szigeti commented, “IHS is the expert when it comes to solving the problem of homelessness in our communities. We encourage our business colleagues to join HLTA in supporting IHS’s program for Waikiki.”

HLTA’s $100,000 donation to IHS was derived from funds raised by its annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk in the spirit of “money raised by the community for the community.” Two years ago, HLTA donated $100,000 in Charity Walk funds to the Hawaii Foodbank for the purpose of feeding Hawaii’s homeless.

IHS, The Institute for Human Services, is a comprehensive 501(C) 3 private, non-profit social services agency working to prevent and end homelessness in Hawaii. IHS’s mission is to provide “respite for those who are unsheltered and solutions that transform the lives of homeless and at-risk people.” IHS’s vision is “a community where everyone has a right to, and responsibility for safe, decent, and affordable housing.”

The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA) is a statewide organization representing hotels, condominiums, timeshares, and other lodging entities. HLTA is dedicated to supporting Hawaii’s lodging industry through education, political action and membership benefits, and raising awareness about its contributions to communities throughout the state.

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